Fifth Phase: 2002Onward (Civilian Rule)

Political History


This discussion will be divided into five parts.






First Phase: 1972-1977

The 1st period actually begins on Dec 20th 1971, when General Yahya Khan resigned and handed over power to Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto who assumed presidency, as there was no constitution at that time, he also continued with the post of chief martial law administrator although he was a civilian. The 1st task before this govt was the framing of a constitution for Pakistan. That is the making of an interim constitution that was enforced in April 1972 and then the making of the 1973 constitution,

Major Policies:

Other important policy measure was the nationalization. In the early 1970s nationalization was a very popular theme with the political leaders in the developing countries. In the name of social justice, in the name of socialism promotion of equality not only in Pakistan but in most of the countries some kind of nationalization was adopted as a political and economic strategy. In case of Pakistan a number of steps were taken by the then govt to pursue the nationalization objective and detail is given below;

The emerald mines:

  1. The nationalization or take over of the emerald mines in Swat.

Key industries:

  1. Several key industries which were with the private sector or which were owned by private groups were taken over by the state of Pakistan under a martial law order and these industries included iron and steel, basic metals, heavy engineering, heavy electrical, motor vehicle and tractor production, heavy basic chemicals, petro chemicals, cement, gas and oil refinery. These were the core of Pakistani economy at that time and these were taken by the state from the private groups which were running these at that time. There were other steps taken under the rubric of nationalization.

Life insurance:

  1. Some of those steps included nationalization of life insurance.


  1. Banks were nationalized in 1974.

Schools and colleges:

  1. Nationalization of schools and colleges which were being run by the privates sectre, all colleges and schools that were not owned by the govt were taken over by the govt. in the name of nationalization. A new university ordinance was issued to streamline education at the university level.

Managing companies:

6. All managing companies and sub agencies were taken over or abolished.

So in this way the state during these years was able to extend its domain over most of the economy of Pakistan.

Other Policies: Other policy measures were

Labor Policy:

A new labor policy which was designed to extend more rights to the labor than what they had under the Ayub Khan regime. Some economic concessions and other facilities were also extended to labor under the new labor policy.

Health Policy:

The govt. also announced a health policy with very high sounding goals and objectives, like providing medical facilities, cheap drugs medicines and other kind of facilities.

Administrative Reforms:

The Bhutto govt also introduced the administrative reforms. It changed the administrative structure and the civil services administrative system thereby limiting the autonomy and centrality of the key services in the civil service of Pakistan. These reforms are called as the 1973 administrative reforms. Some of them were continued even in the later period.


If we look at these measures what we find here is that these reforms ran into difficulties. The reason was the nationalization policy that was the key policy of that govt that shifted the control and management of industry to the state institution and the officials the bureaucrats and most of them had no experience of handling the industry. The result was that most of the state owned industry suffered over the years and then in the 90s Pakistan had to gradually remove the state control over a good no. of industry and adopted a policy of economic liberalization. The other problem was some of the objectives were high sounding and unrealistic not taking into account the resources that would be available and that also created problems in realizing the goals that were set out for these policies especially for the nationalization and other policies.

1977 Elections and Agitation:

In 1977 the govt decided to hold new elections the general elections, which were held in March 1977, the opposition maintained that the govt was involved in rigging elections in a good no. of constituencies. It launched an agitation in protest against what they describe as the rigging in general elections and demanded the holding of the new elections. With the passage of time this movement changed its focus from new election to an Islamic system in Pakistan Nizam-e-Mustafa and this became a nationwide movement.

The govt of Z.A.Bhutto was not able to cope with the pressure generated by this movement, negotiations were held with the opposition parties; however a working formula for holding elections and who would hold power during that interim period, during the elections could not be fully and completely settled. The agitation practically paralyzed the govt. The opposition and people belonging to all walks of like the businessmen students women and the intelligentsia of the country joined hands against the govt and the result was the 3rd martial law and end of democracy.

Second Phase: 1977-1985

Military takeover:

It was under these circumstances that the military under the leadership of its chief of staff General Zia-ul-Haq overthrew the govt of Z.A.Bhutt and assumed power on July 5th 1977.This is the 2nd phase of our today’s lecture. This phase covers the period from 1977 to 1985.and this is the period of military rule under Zia-ul-Haq.who suspended the constitution, this was somewhat different from what was done in 1958or 1969.On these two occasion the army chief while assuming power had abolished the constitution but in 1977 constitution was suspended or use the term held in abeyance and martial law was declared throughout the country and from July 5th 1977 to Dec 30th 1985 Pakistan remained under military rule. This was the longest military rule in the history of Pakistan.

The military govt of General Zia-ul-Haq had an agenda to pursue which developed gradually. Broadly speaking you could identify 3 items in that agenda.

1. Effective Administration

2. Islamisation of the state and the society

3. Return to democracy and constitutional rule

Because while assuming power General Z promised to returned to democracy and constitutional rule.

Major Policies:

The major policies that this govt pursued included a promise to hold elections. Initially the govt declared that it would hold elections within 90 days and then transfer power to the elected govt, so the deadline of 90 days was given. Subsequently this goal was changed and the emphasis focused on accountability of the ousted regime, the previous regime and of the political leaders. So the elections were not held in 90 days the accountability became the major objective. In addition to this they also talked about Islamization along with Islamization there were restriction on political activities on political parties and on the press.


The major policy that the military govt pursued was Islamization in Pakistan. Islamization of the state institutions, the legal system the constitutional system and the Islamization of the society, that is restructuring and reconstruction of the society on the basis of Islamic principles and values. That was the major objective of the military govt. In case of Islamization process introduced by Zia we could talk about 3 strategies for achieving the goal of Islamization.

  1. Forging alliances, seeking cooperation of those Islamic political parties that shared the goal of the military govt.
  2. Constitutional and legal changes.
  3. Changes in the society

Introduction of few practices and certain principles in the society to Islamize the whole structure. I will give you some examples of Islamization during the period of General Zia-ul-Haq to show the kinds of policies the military govt had adopted or the steps the military govt had taken in pursuance of this objective of Islamization.

Shariat benches:

  • In 1979 Shariat Benches were established in the provincial high courts and the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

Federal shariat court:

  • In 1981 a federal Shariat court was established to determine whether a particular law or action is in conformity with the Islamic principles and values. This institution of federal Shariat court was later on incorporated in the 1973 constitution.

Islamic punishments:

  • The other steps included the introduction of Islamic punishments under different laws. I may mention here the punishment of stoning to death, amputation of hands or lashing were made part of the legal system in Pakistan through different ordinances issued by the military govt.However I may mention that with the exception of lashing the other punishments were never carried out in Pakistan although these were on the law books but these punishments were not actually implemented.


  • Then we can talk about other issues and policies which were adopted with reference to Islamization for example, interest free banking profit or loss sharing banking was gradually introduced during this period, starting in 1981 and then gradually the system was expanded.


  • The institution of Zakat was enforced by the state and Zakat used to be compulsorily was deducted from the saving accounts and other investments.


  • Principle of Usher or agricultural tax was also introduced in 1983 on agricultural production.

Education policy:

  • Then we can talk about the education policy, the govt focused on this so that the Islamic values should be reflected in the courses which students would be following in the schools, in the colleges and in the universities. So there was now greater emphasis on these values.

The media:

  • The same was the case with the media, especially the state owned media where conservative Islamic values were emphasized. On Radio, TV and other state media and in this way a lot of other steps were taken to Islamize this society.

Prayer breaks:

  • Prayer breaks were introduced in offices, and Mohallah Salat Committees were formed to observe the compliance of the Salat Ordinance.


  • Pakistan Bait-ul-Maal was established.

Council of Islamic ideology:

  • Council of Islamic ideology that under the 1973 Constitution was meant to advise the govt on Islamization. This body was restructured to make it more effective and also assigned the job of paying more attention devoting more time to the Islamization process. So in other words the Islamization became the characteristics feature of the military govt. under General Zia-ul-Haq.and the overall environment within the Muslim world also helped to pursue such a policy. The resistance of the Islamic groups in Afghanistan against the Soviet military intervention, the Iranian Revolution of 1979 and the overall resurgence of Islam in the Muslim societies contributed to these trends in Pakistan.

Return to democracy:

In addition to Islamization which was emphasized as the main goal or the main strategy of the military govt. This govt also embarked on a policy to return the country to democracy. It was a graduated approach, step by step approach.

Local govt:

  • The system of local govt was established in 1979.

Presidential referendum:

  • Then in 1984 presidential referendum was held and Zia-ul-Haq was elected through that referendum as president for the next 5 years, so in this way he became an elected president through a referendum that was held in Dec 1984.

General election:

  • Then the military govt decided to hold general elections which were held in the last week of Feb 1985, these elections were the partless, that is to say the political parties were not allowed to field their candidates and the candidates were to contest the elections in their individual capacities.

Revival of constitutional order:

  • After the elections in March 1985 the military govt issued the revival of the constitutional order through which the constitution was revived that is to say that the 1973 constitution was revived after introducing several changes in it. One significant change brought in the constitution was the enhancement of the powers of the president. In the original 1973 Constitution the powers of the president were extremely limited. Here with the amendments in 1985 through RCO (Revival of Constitutional Order) in March 1985 the president was given some special powers and one of his powers was the power to dissolve the national assembly in his discretion or what is known as 58-2B.This shifted the balance of power to the president.

Civilian govts

  • After this had been done the civilian PM had been installed by Zia-ul-Haq and then civilian govts were installed at the provincial level, so in this way Pakistan was gradually returning back to the civilian and constitutional system. Then the amendments which the military govt had introduced were presented to the newly elected parliament. The parliament deliberated those amendments changed some of these and passed these under the title of 8thAmendment to the constitution. The original draft of the 8th Amendment was or what was Revival of the Constitutional Order 1985, but through a compromise between the govt and the parliament some amendments were changed and 8th amendment came into existence which brought changes in the constitution and legitimize all the action taken by the military govt of General Zia-ul-Haq. Though the civilian govt at the federal level was installed in March 1985 and the govt at provincial was installed in April 1985.

End of material law;

Martial law was withdrawn in Dec 30, 1985.So 0n 31st Dec Pakistan again came under civilian and elected govt at the federal and provincial levels. Zia continued as president as a result of the referendum that was held in 1984 and he also continued as the army chief and in order to accommodate him as the army chief the constitution was duly amended.

Third Phase: 1985-1999(Civilian Rule)

This is the period of civilian govts in Pakistan during this period Pakistan had 5 govts and three PM.This first PM under these arrangements or in this period was.

Muhammah Khan Junejo:

  1. Muhammad Khan Junejo who held his office as PM (March 1985-May 1988)

Benazir Bhutto:

  1. The second PM was Benazir Bhutto who assumed this office in November 1988 and continued as PM till Aug 1990.

Nawaz Sharif:

  1. The 3rd PM was Nawaz Sharif who assumed this office in Oct 1990 and served till July 1993.

Benazir Bhutto:

  1. Benazir Bhutto again became PM in Oct 1993 and continued in this office till November 1996.

Nawaz Sharif:

  1. The 5th PM was Nawaz Sharif this being his 2nd term and he served as PM from Feb 1997 to Oct 1999.In addition to these PMs there were interim PMS,they were there to hold elections they were only for 3 months we can mention their names for the sake of information.

Interim government

Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi:

  1. 1st interim PM during this phase was Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi who was in office as PM fromAug-Nov,1990 and the elections of 1990 were held under his govt

Bulkh Sher Mazari:

  1. Then in 1993 there were 2 interim PMs 1st Bulkh Sher Mazari from April-May 1993 and then Dr.Moeen Qureshi from July-Oct, 1993.his govt organizes the elections of 1993.

Malik Meraj Khalid:

  1. In Nov, 1996 Malik Meraj Khalid became the interim PM of Pakistan and his govt held the elections of 1997 elections and after the elections and after the elections the regular PM assumed the office of the PM.

If we look at the performances of these civilian govts that is the civilian govts under the regular PMs and we find that these govts adopted various policies for social and economic uplift or for welfare and betterment of the people but the impact of these policies designed to improve the quality of life of the ordinary people were compromised because of a no. of factors.

The coalition govt:

1. One factor that greatly undermined these civilian govts was that most of these govts infact with the exception of the govt that was installed in Feb 1997 all these govts were the coalition govts and the govt didn’t have enough comfortable support in the national assembly to pursue its policies with confidence and with surety. The govts were concerned and worried about keeping of enough support in the assembly to sustain themselves in power.

Weak political parties:

2. Another problem that undermined these govts was that the political parties that were supporting or sustaining these govts were also not organized. These govts also suffered because the political parties were not really strong, stable effective having a countrywide network of support. So weakness of political parties also reflected on the performance that came into being.


3. Another factor was that during this period we also saw a lot of confrontation between the govt and the opposition and a democratic system cannot function smoothly unless the govt and opposition work together because both are integral to the functioning of a democratic system. Only govt and only opposition cannot make sure that democracy is functioning and unfortunately two sides could not develop a working relationship, a stable relationship, a relationship of cordiality, a relationship of confidence and therefore the performance of these govts suffered, and due to which some of the policies they introduced could not produce the results.


4. Another issue was that during these years there were complaints that some of the persons of the party in power were using state resources in a partisan or personal manner. This undermined the reputation of the govt and their performance.

Now we will move on to the next phase

Fourth Phase: 1999-2002:

This phase from 1999-2002 is a period of another military rule in Pakistan. The roots of this military rule can be traced back to the situation that developed during the course of the civilian govt and could be traced back to the desires of the civilian govt to concentrate more and more power and the effort to remove the army chief while he was out of the country. The military under the leadership of the army Chief General Pervaiz Musharraf assumed power on Oct 12th 1999.This time again the constitution was suspended or held in abeyance. It was not abolished but it was suspended. Martial law was not declared in the country, so in this way situation is different from the earlier 3 cases where martial law was declared but in Oct, 1999 ML was not declared no military courts were established after the military take over.

Political priorities:

The press enjoyed freedom and political activities continued. The military govt announced its political priorities, certain principles which they identified as the guiding principles on which their policies were to be based based.

· The 1st political priority of the military was rebuild national confidence and morale.

· Strengthening of federation in Pakistan.

· Removal of inter-provincial disharmony or discard that is to bring provinces closer to each other.

· Restoration of national cohesion.

· Revival of economy and restoration of investor’s confidence.

· Improving of law and order situation and dispensation of justice.

· Depoliticisation of state institutions and devolution of power.

· Introduction of a system of accountability which is swift and across board.

Keeping in view these principles the govt of General Musharraf perused different policies and adopted different measures, some of the policies included various steps to deal with the problem of poverty and under development. In addition to this after Sep, 11, 2001 Pakistan govt also played an important role in containing in Pakistan and outside of Pakistan. It became part of the global effort to control terrorism and then this role won appreciation at the international level.

Return to democracy:

The most important task before the govt was to return the country to the civilian and constitutional rule, and this was done gradually step by step.

  • This started with the Referendum in April, 2002 and before this the govt had introduced the system of local government.
  • Introduction of Legal Framework Order which brought about changes in the constitution.
  • General elections were held on 10th Oct 2002 at the national and provincial assemblies and all the political parties were allowed to contest the elections.
  • After the general elections the constitution was revived. President Musharraf took oath the office of the president.
  • And then the civilian govts were established under the constitution at the federal and provincial; level.

So by the end of the year 2002 Pakistan came back to constitutional and civilian rule.

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General Pervaiz Musharraf became the president of Pakistan in uniform and civilian govts were working at the federal and provincial levels. Meer Zafarullah Khan Jamali became the head of the coalition govt. and in this way the return to civilian and constitutional rule had been implemented. This gives us a hope that with a due course of time democratic system will consolidate and will become durable in Pakistan.

This topic would be further extended and research is under process.


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